Philippine economy remains on high-growth track, says top economy official

MANILA (Xinhua): The Philippine economy "returns to its high-growth" trajectory, supported by a strong labor market performance and cooling inflation, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said on Saturday.

This Friday (June 8) marks the first year in office of Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos, who took oath as the 17th Philippine president on June 30, 2022.

The Philippines has seen robust gross domestic product (GDP) growth, with output expanding by 7.7 per cent (Q3 2022), 7.1 per cent (Q4 2022), and 6.4 per cent (Q1 2023) in the first three-quarters of the Marcos administration, said Balisacan.

The 2022 full-year growth average is at 7.6 per cent, exceeding the government's target of 6.5 to 7.5 per cent, while real GDP per capita surpassed the pre-pandemic level in the fourth quarter of 2022, the chief economist added.

In the labor market, the unemployment rate fell to 4.5 percent in April 2023, down from 5.7 per cent in April 2022, while the underemployment rate also fell to 12.9 per cent from 14 percent in the same period, indicating improved quality of jobs.

Meanwhile, the inflation has steadily moderated, from "a peak of" 8.7 per cent in January to 6.1 per cent in May. The central bank has expected inflation to return to the 2 to 4 per cent target by the fourth quarter of 2023.

"These indicators paint a promising picture of a sustained recovery for 2023," Balisacan said.

Marcos began his term "under challenging and unique economic circumstances," said Balisacan, noting the pandemic had led to a number of socioeconomic setbacks, including the higher national debt, fiscal deficit, as well as social and economic scarring in terms of learning losses, business closures, and record levels of unemployment.

The Marcos administration has conveyed signals to international investors and trading partners that the Southeast Asian country is indeed "open for business," said Balisacan, adding the government is working to diversify the country's sources of growth by expanding its markets, raising productivity, and enhancing the value added for its products and services.

On Thursday, Marcos told reporters that his administration "has a great deal more to do" as he noted the need to fix decades-long "neglect" in the agriculture sector and boost the economy amid persistent inflation threats.

"We are not done. There are many, many things that we still need to do," Marcos said a day before his first year into the presidency. - XInhua

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Philippines , Economy , GDP , Growth , Steady , 2023


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